All Science on Tap events take place at 6pm the second Monday of the month at National Mechanics, 22 S. 3rd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, unless otherwise stated. Be sure to arrive early to get seats!

Monday March 11, 2019

6:00-7:00 pm

“Can Archaeology Save the Planet?:
Using the Past to Predict the Future”

-Kathleen D. Morrison


Archaeologists study the past, but as it turns out, sometimes we need to know about the past in order to better predict the future. Kathy Morrison describes some of her research on human-environment relationships in India, and how it led her to help establish LandCover6k, an international scientific working group that is mobilizing evidence from archaeology, history, and ancient vegetation to improve climate models. Before climate modelers predict the future, they test their models against the past. It’s important, then, that they use the best evidence we have about the past – this where archaeology enters. But archaeologists don’t study the entire planet; they usually work in one region, often on a single time period, so an entirely new approach is needed to bring these different areas of study together. LandCover6k is our answer to this challenge, a ‘big data’ project bringing together information about the past on a global scale.

Kathy MorrisonAbout the Speaker: Kathleen D. Morrison is the Sally and Alvin V. Shoemaker Professor of Anthropology and Curator for South Asia at the University Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. She has been working in southern India since 1985, where she studies the long history of agriculture, landscape, and political change in this fascinating region. She recently joined the Penn faculty.